Garmin isn't taking any chances. While some analysts argue that navigation on a cellphone won't replace dedicated GPS receivers, Garmin has decided to make its own cellphone. It's a big shift for Garmin, the biggest U.S. seller of standalone navigation devices.
The company's nüvifone is an answer to the rush to add GPS capability to cellphones. The new Garmin phone combines the navigation capability of its nuvi line of GPS receivers with a phone and Web browser. Users will navigate the device almost entirely through its 3.5-inch touch-screen, making comparisons to the iPhone inevitable.
But unlike the iPhone, which has no GPS chip, the nüvifone is first about navigation. Plug it into its dashboard holder, and the device returns to its mapping roots. The nüvifone automatically pulls up its navigation menu and turns on the speakerphone.
Garmin didn't discuss price or which carriers might offer the phone when it goes on sale sometime in the fall.